Diabetes agreement strengthens Tayside-Kuwait links

October 10, 2010

Links between Kuwait and Tayside’s world renowned network of diabetes research and care have been strengthened with the signing today (Monday October 18th) of an agreement to develop new collaborations.

The University of Dundee, NHS Tayside and Aridhia Informatics have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Dasman Diabetes Institute and the Ministry of Health in Kuwait. The MoU will allow all partners to further explore opportunities to jointly develop education, clinical networks and informatics proposals linked to improving health care in Kuwait, with an initial focus on diabetes.

The signing of the MoU was attended by H.E. Dr Hilal Al Sayer, Minister of Health in Kuwait, as well as Mr Paul Gaskell, Deputy Head of Mission, and Mr Duncan Hoyland, Head of Trade & Investment, from the British Embassy in Kuwait.

Diabetes is a significant problem in Kuwait, where it has been estimated that up to 1 in 4 of the adult population suffers from the disease. This equates to almost 700,000 Kuwaitis.

Dr Kazem Behbehani, former Assistant Director General of the World Health Organisation and now Director of the Dasman Diabetes Institute in Kuwait, said, ‘The Dasman Diabetes Institute and the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health have led productive discussions with our Scottish partners throughout this year which has led us to signing this agreement. We are excited about the development of this partnership, and are convinced it will deliver real benefits to Kuwait and Scotland.’

‘We are delighted to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with our Kuwaiti partners,’ said Professor John Connell, Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Dundee. ‘We have substantial experience and expertise across Tayside in diabetes research, care and management and we think we have a lot to offer the people of Kuwait in terms of developing this innovative partnership to tackle the disease.’

Professor Tony Wells, Chief Executive of NHS Tayside said ‘Tayside is now internationally recognised as having arguably the best information and knowledge of a diabetes population anywhere in the world – the clinical network model that we have developed is consistently demonstrating improved outcomes for people with diabetes, and is rightly attracting international interest as a model for tackling long term conditions.’

Work has already begun on a foundation phase for the partnership with a number of clinical workshops involving representatives of the Amiri Hospital and four Primary Healthcare Centres in Kuwait who are involved in a pilot project to build an informatics base using existing data. This will be used to establish, as a first step, a comprehensive register of diabetic patients. This work, led by Aridhia Informatics, has implemented a new generation of informatics capability to create a world class platform to support the quality improvement of health care, re- configuration of health services and optimal care of patients with chronic diseases.

Such a system of electronic record linkage makes it possible to identify patients already diagnosed as diabetic and also, by using data from laboratory and prescribing systems, identify people who may have undiagnosed diabetes.

‘This is the sort of system that has been developed to very good effect in Tayside, where we have pioneered a lot of the activity in this area,’ said Professor Andrew Morris. ‘Now we can deliver the same kind of effective system in Kuwait by building this relationship with the Dasman Diabetes Institute and the Ministry of Health.

A clinical steering group has also already been established in Kuwait by the partners with the intent of developing plans to implement a range of educational, clinical network and informatics proposals.

These include:

  • An international programme on education (led by the University of Dundee)
  • A Kuwaiti implementation of clinical network built upon quality improvement methodology (led by NHS Tayside)
  • A chronic disease clinical information system for the whole of Kuwait (led by Aridhia Informatics)
  • A research programme looking at population genetics and epidemiology (led by the University of Dundee)
  • Quality Improvement collaboration (led by NHS Tayside)

The Dasman Diabetes Institute is a world-class facility that was endowed to Kuwait by the Emir in 2005. Its mission statement is ‘to prevent, control, and mitigate the impact of diabetes and other chronic conditions in Kuwait, through effective programmes of research, training, education and health promotion and thereby improve quality of life in the population.’

The MOU signing will take place at the Dasman Diabetes Institute in Kuwait on 18th October, 2010.

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